Japan’s social security benefits topped ¥120 trillion to hit record high in 2017

Social security benefits paid out in fiscal 2017 reached a record high and exceeded ¥120 trillion for the first time, a welfare ministry-affiliated think tank said Friday.

The figure for the year to March 2018 stood at ¥120.24 trillion, up 1.6 percent from the previous year, the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research said.

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Social security benefits have been on the increase since statistics began in 1950.

Such benefits include pensions and spending for medical services, with self-pay portions excluded. They are mainly financed by tax revenues and social security insurance premiums.

By category, pensions totaled ¥54.83 trillion, the largest figure and nearly 50 percent of the total. But the year-on-year growth of pensions was only 0.8 percent, due in part to a drop in public pension allowances.

Medical expenditures grew 1.6 percent to ¥39.42 trillion, reflecting the aging of society.

Spending on welfare and other purposes, including child-rearing and nursing care, increased 3.1 percent to ¥25.99 trillion.

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